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Geneticist and archaeologist Turi King is known to the world for her work in identifying the remains of King Richard III. Her work is a big part of the story that followed the discovery of the grave under a car park in Leicester in 2011.
In 2021 Professor King is now seen regularly on TV with Stacey Dooley in the BBC production DNA Family Secrets. In the show she uses DNA analysis to reveal answers to life-changing questions through the power of the latest technology to track down missing relatives, to reveal hidden family heritage, and to help to detect potentially debilitating disease.
Canadian-British Turi is Professor of Public Engagement and Genetics at the University of Leicester. Her archaeology career began in Canada, and continued in Greece and in England, before she won a scholarship to read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge. Whilst at the University of Cambridge Turi became involved in the pioneering use of genetics technologies in the disciplines of history and archaeology.
She went on after Cambridge to the University of Leicester earning a PhD in which Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, inventor of DNA fingerprinting advised her. Her ground-breaking work demonstrated the links between genetics and our surnames – with implications for both genealogy and for forensic science.
Turi King’s unique research came to notice of documentary-maker Michael Wood and she appeared in 2010 in The Story of England and later in his eight part The Great British Story – A People’s History.
And then in 2011 an extraordinary opportunity arose when she received an email asking if she would be interested in leading genetic analysis involved in the exhumation and reburial of King Richard III – ‘the 500 year-old cold case’. Since then she has appeared in documentaries and television shows from Crimewatch to The Gadget Show, from The King in the Car Park to Britain’s Lost Battlefields. And when not appearing on TV Turi King is advising technically on popular productions such as Who Do You Think You Are?
Turi has now given hundreds of talks around the world including a Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill, opening the Moscow Science Festival, and of course, TED Talks. She’s appeared on BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific, Inside Science and now in The Reunion.
Professor Turi King’s speaking career has also included guest-presenting the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in Japan. She’s been made an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association and the University of Leicester has created the post of Professor of Public Engagement and Genetics specifically for her remarkable work.
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